• This event has passed.

The AOI’s Complete Guide to Freelance Illustration

15th September 2020 - 20th October 2020

The AOI’s Complete Guide to Freelance Illustration

Harnessing our experience as the world’s leading professional body for illustrators, The AOI have a designed this 6 week interactive online course to help illustrators take proactive steps to progress in their careers. Each week you will explore an essential aspect of freelance illustration, covering self-promotion, licensing, contracts, finances, agency representation and more – delivered in the AOI’s trademark friendly, accessible approach.

Each live interactive session will be hosted by a different industry professional, who will be available to answer questions throughout and share their expertise with you. This course also includes valuable tailored feedback on your online portfolio.

With only 30 spaces available, you will have the chance to engage with a small supportive group of like-minded illustrators throughout the duration of the course (and the opportunity to stay connected afterwards).

Whether you are just starting out in the illustration industry or you feel as though you have hit a wall in your progress, The AOI’s Complete Guide to Freelance Illustration offers you the tools you need to build a successful, sustainable illustration career.



Tuesdays, 5.00pm – 6.30pm BST

15th September – 20th October 2020

Dates for portfolio consultations in week 5 may vary.



AOI Members: £150.01

Non-Members: £180.00

Inclusive of 6 live sessions (sessions cannot be booked separately)


Course Content:

Expand all

Week One - Self Promotion

Tuesday 15th September, 5.00pm – 6.30pm

While creating a strong body of work is important, a self promotion strategy is essential for a successful career in illustration. In this session we will look at how illustrators can build a brand, establish an effective online presence, and importantly understand their audience.

This session will include:

  • How to most effectively present your website/portfolio.
  • Nurturing your social media and developing a presence online.
  • Researching and contacting the clients you really want to work with.

This session will be led by talented illustrator Marianna Madriz, who is currently working on her 4th children’s book. Marianna is also a Senior Membership Assistant at the AOI.  


Week Two - Licensing and Negotiation

Tuesday 22nd September, 5.00pm – 6.30pm

Love the excitement of a new commission but feel nervous about discussing licence terms and negotiating fees? In this session we will take a comprehensive look at licensing for illustration. We will discuss negotiating with confidence, offering practical advice on how to bring a deal more into your favour.

This session will include:

  • Licensing 101, including how to write an illustration licence.
  • How to negotiate fees and licence terms with confidence.
  • The most effective tone of voice for negotiations, with examples of useful phrases.

This session will be led by Rachel Hill, AOI Membership Manager, ethical advisor and ex illustration agent.


Week Three - Contracts, Copyright & Infringements

Week Four - Finance and Accounting

Tuesday 6th October, 5.00pm – 6.30pm 

Many freelancers value guidance and to-the-point information on the financial and accounting sides of running their business, and this session will highlight what you need to know in these areas.

This session will include:

  • Freelance accounts – keeping records, budgeting, business overheads and calculating your sales income.
  • Reviewing your tax payments, what to claim and what not to claim, and tax deadlines.
  • National Insurance and Pension.
  • Pros and Cons of registering your business as a limited company.

This session will be delivered by Russell Smith, founder of RS Accountancy.


Week Five - Online Portfolio Consultations

Week Commencing 13th October (1 hour group consultations scheduled throughout the week) 

It’s time to put those self promotion tips into action! In this session, an experienced portfolio consultant will meet with you in smaller focus groups, to offer tailored, unbiased feedback on your website. You will discuss practical ways to build on your strengths and best present your existing body of work online.

This session will include:

  • A breakdown of what commissioners will expect to see in your portfolio.
  • Practical advice on how to display work your to its best advantage.
  • Individual feedback on what to take out, leave in and add to your website.

This session will be delivered by Fig Taylor, the AOI’s resident Portfolio Consultant and author of ‘How to Create a Portfolio and Get Hired: A Guide for Graphic Designers and Illustrators’.


Week Six - Agency Representation

Tuesday 20th October, 5.00pm – 6.30pm 

This session will explore the pros and cons of having an illustration agent, and whether seeking representation is the right choice for you. We will hear from both sides of the coin, through a panel discussion with illustration agent, Matthew Shearer and successful unrepresented illustrators, Aleesha Nandhra.

This session will include:

  • The pros and cons of representation.
  • How to approach illustration agencies.
  • What to expect from an illustration agency.
  • Practical advice for unrepresented illustrators.

Matthew Shearer is an Agent at Bernstein & Andriulli, looking after a roster of 50 Illustrators, Animators, CGI Artists and Muralists from all over the world.

Aleesha Nandhra is a talented Illustrator and Printmaker, who’s client list includes Google, The LA Times, The Barbican and many more.


This course will be delivered on Zoom.




The AOI implements the principle of inclusivity and doesn’t wish to turn away participants for lack of funds. If you wish to take part but are financially limited, please contact us to discuss a discount. Please note that we will consider and review each case individually.





15th September 2020
20th October 2020
Event Categories: